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The Imperiled American Wolf: When Will the Killing Stop?

Since being removed from the endangered species it's been open season on wolves

I've written a number of essays for Psychology Today about the wanton and heinous slaughter of wolves, the latest being about how the killing of the Yellowstone wolves is ruining highly significant and novel long-term research projects (see also) on these amazing carnivores.

Since being removed from the endangered species list it's been an open season on wolves by sport hunters and trappers, some of whom openly torture the animals before killing them or letting the die. The slaughter continues despite the fact that there have been only two known fatal attacks by wolves on humans in North America and they really do extremely little damage to livestock. Indeed, a recent study showed that sheep predation could be greatly reduced without killing wolves

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Now, a significant new video called "The Imperiled American Wolf" has just been released and it is well worth watching. Wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction over 35 years ago when they gained federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Today the American wolf is again in grave danger. Since President Obama removed the gray wolf from the endangered species list in April 2011 and turned management of these majestic animals over to state wildlife agencies, more than 1,000 wolves have been senselessly slaughtered by sport hunters and trappers. And the killing has just begun. 

Predator Defense's new film explains the reasons wolves cannot be successfully managed by state wildlife agencies: not only do their methods ignore the core biology of how wolves hunt and breed, but their funding depends on hunting and trapping fees. In fact, current wolf management may actually lead to wolves' demise. Predator Defense and this film make a bold call for federal relisting of these important apex predators as endangered species. Scientists who know these animals well agree

The war on wolves continues. Just as I was watching this video I learned that two radio-collared wolves who roamed about in the Grand Teton National Park were recently killed, once again having a negative impact on on-going research, wolf management, and the ecosystem in which these magnificent individuals lived. 

The war being waged against wolves is senseless and tragic. Their heinous slaughter is ruining research and management programs and according to wolf experts it is scientifically and thoroughly unjustified. 

It is up to all of us to speak out now on behalf of wolves. You can learn more about the ongoing and escalating wolf slaughter on Predator Defense's website where there also is a "call to action" that provides information about who to contact to stop this reprehensible killing. Please take the time to stop the wanton slaughter of these magnificent beings. There also is a petition here, the deadline for which is December 14.

Note: I just learned that Michigan has just designated the gray wolf as a game animal.

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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